CHANGEABILITY: THE TENDER BEGINNINGS OF SPRING
Springtime is a treasure hunt, rewarding with delight. Whether children are finding hidden, colored Easter eggs in the garden; the hidden Afikoman to complete the Passover Seder meal; or sweet, early strawberries at the farmer’s market: the season of spring holds hidden treasures poised to be revealed. Its bounty isn’t difficult to locate. Intoxicating fragrances and brightly colored flowers entice the birds, the bees, and even the humans to draw in close, get all excited, and spread their treasure around.
Spring is a time when Mother Nature taps us on the shoulder and demands that we look up from our phone screens and turn our attention out the window. The way the morning sun outlines the edges of the brilliant yellow daffodils is its own refreshment. It requires my pause to take it in. I’m filled with sensations of excitement and pleasure; giddy with unbridled joy just at the sight.
And speaking of giddy joy, in spring, the baby animal cute-factor amps way up: adorable baby bunnies, baby lambs, and baby birds. I even saw baby gray whales in the protected waters of San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja Sur, Mexico, this past March. That’s a pretty big baby at fifteen feet at birth, but a baby, none-the-less.
Every once-hidden, treasured new blade of grass, every young hatchling starts with a tender beginning. Often, it’s a shaky, awkward beginning. The young foal rises and walks on wobbly legs; the fuzzy baby robin stays protected in the nest until ready for flight school. Human babies, goodness, we take years to develop the finesse of our mobility.
The same is true for the new beginnings of your new projects and ideas, your internal and external changes. At any beginning you’ll experience vulnerability, awkwardness, and the sense that there’s much to grow into. Whether it’s a new love, a new house project, a renewed physicality, or a new business venture, it’s helpful to use the hopeful, uplifting energies of spring to support you in your tender new beginnings.
I said in an earlier article that I don’t believe that we should consider January 1 as the start of the New Year. The middle of the dark and cold is when nature is conserving her life force. Winter is the time for the rest and the gestation that’s essential to building support for life to re-emerge and spring forth in the springtime. In the winter, beginnings are suggestions not yet visible. But, whatever couldn’t grow in the wintertime can now start to grow in the spring, in the wet of the melting snow and the warmth of the sunshine. I say start because it’s a time of beginnings, but not yet a time of ripening. Many seeds will be scattered; only a few will mature. Be patient. There’s still waiting to be done. However, our ability to catch the first drafts of wind will let us spread newly developed wings and fly—whether you’re a seed, a bird, or a new venture.
How do we encourage new seeds, ideas, projects, or relationships to grow? How can you encourage new growth in your own life, using the energies of springtime to assist you, and the metaphors and the lessons of the natural world to support you in your own change journey?
As we’re surrounded by new life, sensations of new possibilities stir within. Perhaps your “seeds” were already planted a while ago, and have been gestating. You’ve had an intuition or a new inspiration for a change you’d like to make. It’s been quietly, or not so quietly, nudging you. When we were in winter, I was suggesting that you slow down, go into the dark, rest, dream, quietly plant some seeds of imagination, and allow them to gestate.
That was then, this is now. Now is the time to wake the sleeping darlings and bring them forward. The invitation is to go out and play. Be flirtatious; get frisky; create new life in one way or another. Plant a new seed of an idea or a project, feed it and let it grow. You could consider that nudging of ideas in the same way the seed planted in the ground sends up a shoot that nudges its way up through the soil, based on the call of the season. Those same cues are calling you to come forth, as well.
What’s the best way to encourage something to grow in your garden, inside of you, or in the world around you? Is there a formula? In order to nurture a tender beginning, whether it’s a child or small animal, a creative offering, or a new sense of your mind-body-spirit connection you need to make room, activate your actions, and feed it well, over time. Make Room/Activate/Feed.
Make room, first, by clearing the clutter, whether that’s cleaning your closets, completing old projects and getting them off your desk, or preparing the soil in your vegetable garden. All new creatures and creations need clear space and room to grow. You can also make room by lightening up your body. Those stubborn pounds you gained and have maintained since the winter holidays can now more easily come off in the lightness of spring. Changing your diet for the benefit of losing weight or improving your health and vitality is assisted by the season. Clear your body, clear your environment, and clear your head so what’s new has an open space to thrive.
Next, invigorate your intention with some inspired action. Invite in your creativity and sense of play. Allow the hopeful promise of spring to lighten your load and give you lift. Upping your physical activity with walks, dance, yoga or exercise will energize your entire body and being throughout the day. Taking time for an embodiment practice where you attune to your breath, heighten your senses, and find a greater sense of calm, such as meditation or other awareness practices, activates your body and being in yet another essential way. Sometimes, we simply have to make ourselves do unpleasant tasks (that would be cleaning the closets for me) but the momentum found in just getting into action rather than continuing to sit around and think about it, or sit around in resistance, can carry you through. The same is true with building momentum for the incremental steps of moving an idea into realization; movement begets movement. One foot in front of the other does work, even if the steps don’t always move consistently in a forward direction.
Finally, feed your new beginning. Give healthy food to your child or young pet. Give plenty of water and soil nutrients to your garden. Do the equivalent for your ideas, projects, relationships and desired personal changes. Feed them, nourish them: tend them with consistency and care.
Here’re some ideas on how to specifically take these springtime steps:
Spend more time in nature.
Go for a walk, plant your garden, smell the flowers.
Pay attention to the transition that is happening in this season. Learn what the natural world is telling you about how it supports itself in growth. Appreciate the beauty all around you.
Clear your mind, your body, and your home.
Clean your home, closets, desk, and office.
Consult LVBX contributing editor and author Tisha Morris, and her new book, Clutter Intervention, for important tips. Clearing your space will reshape your life, inside and out.
Clear your body.
What needed to be stored and conserved in the winter can now be released for a sense of lightness in your body. The grocery stores have more greens and fresh food to eat. You can lose extra weight and find more vitality and clarity by ingesting more green juice, vegetables, fruits, and lighter proteins.
Commit to more movement.
The stirring of spring and the warming of the weather now motivate you to engage in more movement, go outside, and play. Find a form of exercise or movement that you can enjoy. Your enjoyment is the key to keeping your interest. Your feelings of frolic, play, and overall activation are supported by some form of daily movement. Choose a form that gives you pleasure.
Fall in Love.
Open your heart. It may be that a special someone comes in on the breeze. Or, you find a deepening love with those you already cherish. But, we can always open our hearts to another and feel the pleasure in that. Fall in love with beauty and with life, itself.
Renew and refresh.
Even something that’s not brand new can be restored and refreshed to new life: a fresh coat of paint to the house, a new logo for your brand, or interjecting some playful fun into a tired and sleepy relationship. Update; invigorate; celebrate.
Give yourself a break, let yourself be carried by the wind or by a whim, play hooky, have fun. Let spring fever infect you, once in a while.
Spring rocks back and forth more than any other season. We see this swing in the weather with rain and wind one day, sunshine the next, then maybe even snow, until eventually it gives way to the full bloom of spring. Spring will eventually give way to the ripening of summer where it will remain hot, hot, hot all of the time. Like the seasons, all change rocks back and forth from one extreme to another, from one day to the next. Just look at politics. The novelty and unpredictability of the movement of change, just like the movement of spring, disrupts and upends us, but it keeps us on our toes. The unpredictability enlivens us with what’s new.
That rocking back and forth is the movement of birth. The mother giving birth and the baby receiving birth both experience a push and a rest, then another push and a rest as the baby makes its way out into the world. The breaking out of the egg is the pattern of peck, peck, rest, until eventually the bird, or snake, or lizard pulls itself out from where it had been protectively developing.
What is the movement of your own birth, rebirth, or renewal? Is it steady? Is it rocking back and forth? Do you find that though the energy propels you towards something new, you still require some rest stops to catch your breath and reorient? Can you have patience with yourself and the birthing process of tender beginnings?
Springtime is exciting, no question. Spring is full of hope, possibility, and promise that comes to bloom and then to fruit. But don’t expect spring to be summer, and especially don’t expect it to be autumn. Spring is the time to initiate but not the time to harvest. Don’t ask too much of spring except for its lift, exuberance, promise, and spread of seeds. Don’t ask spring to be a time of completion, because it’s not. Later, with proper tender care, those new beginnings will grow to the point where they can expand on their own, find new ways of interdependence, withstand more heat, and protect themselves from the assault from obstacles, natural predators, and the consequences of standing upright in the world. Right now, in the tender stage, they need tender care.
Sometimes the fervent of our spring fever might have us frolicking all over the new grass, crushing the tender new shoots. Our exuberance causes us to be clumsy and unaware. But, the resilience of spring understands this, and those young blades have in them enough bend to be able to return to upright eventually, after the merry-makers have frolicked off elsewhere.
Some of you are still waiting for spring to start, and you’re getting pretty antsy. This year, the snow teases its departure and then returns, covering the cherry blossoms and weighing down the daffodils. It’s that back and forth that interlaces hope with disappointment, fueling impatience. The signs are there, just not spring’s full expression. But the readiness is building. Likewise, your new beginnings, your new changes may experience their own rocking back and forth. Please understand that it’s all in the service of readiness. If you’re like me, you think you’re ready well before you actually are. Know that the feelings of impatience and frustration are another expression of desire, are actually part of the seasonal transition, and are part of the process of change itself. When we can allow nature to take the lead in regards to timing, we will always be supported—because, nature knows best. When we align with the wisdom of nature for our personal changes and transitions, we are supported, as well.
Spring reminds us of our resilience, and part of our resilience is to know that we can withstand the rocking back and forth of spring, the precarious unpredictability of new beginnings, and all the emotions that go along with that—including impatience. We know that we can have the same bend as new spring grass, and that we, too, can turn from frozen to flowing, like the spring river. Our impatience for the fulfillment of the treasure hunt of spring needn’t get the better of us.
Be kind and careful with all of your new beginnings, and with the sweet burgeoning buds that you recognize in others. Make lots of room for these beginnings to spread out and develop, and tend them carefully. And please, shower nutrients of appreciation, praise, and encouragement for all the beauty they display. Most surely, it will help them grow.
Sharon Weil is the author of ChangeAbility, How Artists, Activists and Awakeners Navigate Change (Archer/Rare Bird Books 2016) a book designed to help readers navigate all the changes of their lives, drawing upon the collective wisdom of twenty-five change-innovators across many fields. ChangeAbility Playbook, How to Navigate Your Own Change (Archer/Rare Bird Books May 2017) is a journal workbook for navigating your own personal change. Bundled with The ChangeAbility Deck: 48 Reflection Cards to Change Your Life, they make a perfect change-support gift. Sharon’s novel, Donny and Ursula Save the World, is called “the funniest book about love, sex, and GMO seeds you’ll ever read.” (Passing 4 Normal Press 2013) She is also the host of Passing 4 Normal Podcast, conversations about change. sharonweilauthor.com